Saturday, December 30

Saturday – All Done!

The Blogger folks have gotten the difficulty with the picture posting utility straightened out, so I can again show you what I've been up to. Thank you Blogger Folks!

Normally I don’t work in the shop on Saturday, but since we were gone all day Thursday, and we’re running behind again anyway, I decided I’d best spend today finishing up Calvin’s desk.

So, I spent the day removing all the hardware, shooting lacquer, and reassembling the entire desk. There were a couple of tense moments, but nothing I couldn’t (with God’s help) figure out a way to get it to work out.

End result: very nice. I think Calvin will be pleased. In fact, someone who saw this desk deing built was so pleased with it that she ordered a shorter version for a computer desk in her kitchen.

Now, I’ll get back to Dan’s sewing cabinet. The two large plates I glued up a few weeks ago have been through several high/low humidity cycles. One had developed a very slight bow, the other remains dead flat. The one that is slightly bowed will become the lower top so it can draw upon the cabinet casework to draw it flat. The other will become the fold out leaves. I’ll get going on that project again right after New Years.

Happy New Years, and if old acquaintances be forgot… call them up and remember!


Friday, December 29


I put in a long day today and got quite a bit accomplished. Unfortunately, this new (non-beta) version of Blogger refuses to accept photos, so I can’t share pictures with you. Sorry. Hopefully they'll get that fixed and I can go back to showing you what has been accomplished. Basically, I trimmed and squared the door/drawer front blank and cut it into a door and matching drawer front. Then I cut the parts needed to build the drawer box, including a pencil tray. I’m using a sliding dovetail joint to attach the drawer sides to the drawer front, so I cut those. Then cut the grooves and dadoes needed to house the dividers and bottom. Before assembling the drawer I needed to stain the oak drawer front, so I took time to do that as well as the door. When it was dry enough to handle safely I put the drawer together and mounted the drawer slides, then mounted the door hinges. The door and drawer front don’t quite line up right so I’m chiseling pockets in the door and case to correct that. I got it almost done before quitting time, and will finish it up tomorrow. Doug

Thursday, December 28


Today Marie and I are gone to North Carolina to confer with our builders, iron out all the little details and sign a vast pile of paperwork. This will take nearly all of the day. I’ll be back in the shop tomorrow. Doug

Wednesday, December 27


First thing this morning I built a nice hot fire in the wood stove to take the chill off the air in the shop. It got chilly last night. Once I achieved an air temp of 55° again I rolled the main part of the desk over on the small workbench that has been supporting it, tacked it off and stained it.

Then I had to leave for a bit and let the stain set up. Once it’s no longer tacky I can proceed.

Seems we’ve decided to add a door and a pencil drawer to this project. So I need to make those and stain them before we go further.

I spent the afternoon ripping strips and gluing them together in half-panels, then surface planing the half-panels and jointing the halves and gluing the halves together into the blank that will yield a nice flat door and matching drawer front.

It's a bit early, but I now have a shortage of space again. And we have out of town relatives visiting -- whom I am not spending much time with because I don't get to take extended leaves of absence, so Marie and I will be taking them out to dinner this evening. Therefore, I need to get cleaned up and change clothes anyway.


Tuesday, December 26


We are rounding third base and heading for home.

Today I trimmed the shelves and the keyboard tray to finished size and sanded them thoroughly. Then I cleaned up the shop a bit.

I removed the pedestal from the desk – to make things easier to handle – and stained everything but the top of the desk. This will all have to set overnight to cure, then I’ll begin putting things back together and getting ready to shoot some lacquer.



Today we're taking the day off to celebrate the birth of our Lord, savior and friend. We'll be back at work tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

Doug & Marie

Friday, December 22


Kind of a nasty day weather-wise. Not cold by any means -- I didn't even have to start up the woodstove today -- but grey and drizzly all day long. At least I wasn't tempted to go out and work on The Hill!

More visible progress today; I finished up and mounted the modesty panel, attached the storage pedestal to the modesty panel and the desk top then installed the keyboard slide. The rest of the time today was spent milling, jointing and gluing up blanks for the two shelves and the keyboard tray.

That’s about it for today.

Merry Christmas!
And remember, Christmas without Christ is just a mas.


Thursday, December 21

Thursday – Coming together

Today was one of those gratifying days when you actually get to see some real progress. Making parts is fine, but it’s always a thrill when you get to put some parts together to build something 3-dimensional. Even if it’s only temporarily.

The day started off a bit late because early this morning I received an order for a bottle stopper rack that we have on-hand and needed to get the order processed and get the rack packaged up and ready to ship out on today’s UPS pick-up. I made it.

Then it was back to work on Calvin’s desk. I started by making the front and back rails for the storage pedestal, then assembled the pedestal. I also made the bottom shelf and cut the back panel and put these in place as well.

I also milled out the parts for and glued up the modesty panel – it’s in clamps overnight (standing behind the desk). And I attached the free leg panel. I have to be careful because without the modesty panel in place to brace it, it will be rather fragile.

I’m going to forego the evening session again – feeling a bit worn out again, but getting better.


Wednesday, December 20

Wednesday - recovering

I’m feeling enough better to get back to work. Spent the morning finishing up the small projects that were ordered for Christmas delivery. There is a third wall hung stopper rack which was posted to the Christmas Shop page. I guess I’ll need to pull that page down in another day or two. Best write myself a note…
And I finished up Jackie's 2 tier stopper rack in cherry and oak. It turned out very nice. That needs to be shipped off to her sister.

This afternoon I was cutting slots in the pedestal sides of Calvin’s desk to house shelf standards, then re-assembled the three panels with glue and clamps. That used up the afternoon. I’ll quit now and not put in an evening session today – still recovering and all.


Tuesday – Out Sick

I’m severely under the weather today – something is going around, half our church was out sick on Sunday. Today I’m staying in and working on some web site stuff. I plan to be back at it tomorrow. Doug

Monday, December 18


This morning was spent packaging up the bag handles for In The Bag and milling out parts for the two remaining bottle stopper racks in the list. After lunch I utilized the warm sunny weather to chop out some tie-back trenches up on the high hill. I figured I should use the daylight for outside chores and till go back to the workshop this evening and work late. Otherwise I’m not going to get everything done before construction starts. After supper I indeed went back to the workshop and finished cutting all the mortises in Rev. Calvin’s desk pedestals, then hand fitted and dry assembled them. That pretty will used up this day. Doug

Friday, December 15


I spent the morning cutting tenons on all the parts of the desk base. I chose to use the bandsaw for this, and broke not one but two bands! I guess they were getting old; still sharp but the welds broke. One can be re-welded, the other kinked pretty badly and will have to be replaced.

During the afternoon I set up the drill press for chopping mortises then laid out the mortises on the parts and chopped all needed to assemble one of the three pedestal panels -- and discovered that my ¼” mortising chisel is bent. What a day!

At least we got good news on our constructio project. Take one large step forward.

That pretty well used up the afternoon. But everything is set up and ready to go next time.


Thursday, December 14


Not much to talk about today; This morning I put a final coat of oil on Catherines bag handles. Then I roughed out the parts I’ll need for the three “legs” under Rev. Calvin’s desk top, then trimmed and thickness planed them to finished size. That pretty well killed the day. During a break I posted some needle cases we turned up in the store room to the Christmas Shop section. Doug

Wednesday, December 13


The weather has been much warmer lately, so I can get an early start: I don’t have to wait for the workshop to warm up to a workable temperature. This morning it was 52° when I went out at 7:30. Very nice.

I spent the morning working on Rev. Calvin’s desk top; planning the two halves that I made yesterday smooth and to thickness, then joining the halves together. Again while glue was drying I was working on Caroline's bag handles.

During my lunch break I started posting some bottle stoppers we found to the Christmas Shop section of our web site. I’ll get the rest done this evening. Click the title of this post to go to the Christmas Shop and see what we’re offering for immediate shipment. Most everything is one-of-a-kind.

Most of the afternoon was spent shaping, sanding, grain filling and sanding some more on the desk top. It’s done and it’s beautiful! Now on to those fiddly bits that go under the desk top.

I finished up the day by giving Caroline’s bag handles a second coat of oil. I’ll see how they look in the morning. If they need to be scuffed and oiled again, I’ll do that right off otherwise they will be ready to ship out.


Tuesday, December 12

Tuesday – Back on track

Today I was back at the regularly scheduled jobs. Specifically, I was building Reverend Calvin’s desk top. Same procedure as I was using for Dan’s sewing cabinet, just bigger. I got the lumber milled out, strips cut and glued back together (except the center joint) and will let this assemblage set in the clamps overnight.

During the down times for letting glue set up I shaped the bag handle blanks for Caroline’s order.

See you tomorrow!


Monday, December 11

Monday – side trip

Because we’ve has a fair number of people wanting to know what the new wall hung bottle stopper rack will look like, it was decided that I should take one day to make one or two of these items; for photographing. So today I did just that.

But to make the racks I first had to make a jig that would allow me to cut precisely spaced and perfectly square dadoes in the sides of the rack.

After building the jig, I built two racks, one in our customary Walnut & Poplar, and one in all oak. You may click the title of this post to go look at these racks. These two are available for immediate purchase and shipment.

Tomorrow it’s back to the regular jobs.


Thursday, December 7


Today was a repeat of yesterday, producing the second panel (lower top) for Dan’s sewing cabinet. The final glue-up is in clamps now and I left enough wood in the stove to produce heat long enough for the glue to set up. It’s going to get down into the ‘teens’ tonight, but residual heat in the air and the woodstove should keep it warm enough long enough for the glue to set up properly. The only difference in today from yesterday is that it snowed – not much, just flurries – and that Len, a friend and fellow craftsman came by and cleaned out my wood block collection. He makes hand forged knives and these blocks of exotic woods will provide enough material for the handles of his knives for years. So, if you’ve gone looking for the Block Shop on our web page and couldn’t find it, that’s because it’s not there anymore. Len, like a kid in a candy store, was delighted to get all that colorful and unusual wood, and I appreciate the additional space in my workshop. It was good for us both. Tomorrow Marie and I are going to be helping with a community event in Newport: Christmas In The City, so I may or may not get any woodworking done. It depends on what they need us to do and when. Hope you have a great weekend! Doug

Wednesday, December 6

Wednesday: A change of heart

I spent the morning cutting the boards I planed out yesterday into narrow strips. The decision to do this was a tough one. We started with beautiful, 10” wide, flat walnut boards. I planned to simply joint them and glue them together to make the upper and lower the top plates for the cabinet. But, the more I thought about this, the more it concerned me. While this plan produces beautiful panels with superb graining (even had a little quilted walnut right in the center of the upper plate) there is the possibility that these wide boards will move a little when shipped into another climate. We had that problem with Paula’s cabinet – and that was made of quarter sawn oak, which is supposed to NEVER cup.

So, although it almost brought tears to my eyes to slice up such pretty boards, I cut them into 7/8” wide strips, flipped them 90° and glued them back together into a wide board again. We loose the grain patterns this way but it will be far less likely to lift a corner on us. And since Dan wanted it to look as much like mahogany as possible, the edge grain of these panels will look much more like the graining of mahogany than the swirls of walnut.

If you click the title of this message (above) it will take you to the article I wrote while building Paula’s Sewing Cabinet. It gives lots more detail and photos of the construction of this piece of furniture.

The afternoon was spent gluing and clamping the final quarter of the panel, then surface planing and smoothing the panel. Because the panel is too wide to go through our surface planer in one piece, I made it in two parts. Surface planed them to ¾” then joined them together down the center. That way only one joint will have to be faired out by hand.

The result is a panel 20” wide by 50” long that is perfectly smooth and flat. I’m making this up first so that it will get to sit around in the shop for the coming weeks, through several cycles of humidity, to be sure it will stay flat. This is not a guarantee that it won’t misbehave when shipped into a totally different climate, but it’s all I can do to protect my customers from disappointment. Beyond this it's in God's hands.


Tuesday, December 5


Another cold day today – and abbreviated as well. This morning I had to run all around taking care of all manner of chores; Newport, Cosby and Edwina. That used up the morning. During the afternoon I surface planed and edge trimmed the boards I’d selected to be Dan’s sewing machine cabinet top plates. Now they have to sit for a day or two more to see if they’ll twist now that they are thinner, then I’ll joint them for gluing up into panels. This evening Marie and I are assisting with the Newport City Tree Lighting Ceremony, so I have to close the shop a bit early, get cleaned up and head into town - again. Tomorrow will be back to normal (whatever THAT is!!) Doug

Monday, December 4


Brrr… it was cold today; started out in the 20's and only got up the high 30's. A good day to stay in the shop and near the wood stove!

I finished up Yvonne’s stopper rack and prepared it for shipping, as soon as she gives me the OK to process the final billing it will ship out.

I also resawed and surface planed a mess of walnut for Ros’s bag handle order. I’ll turn these over to Brian now and that reduces the clutter in here just a bit more.

I’m continuing to post my exotic blocks collection for sale, but decided that the auction web sites are just too complicated and expensive to make use of for this, so I’ve added a new section to our own web site The Block Shop and will post them all there, where they can stay until sold. That way I don’t need to try to cover the auction listing fees or fumble with their confusing forms.

Click the title above to go take a peek.

I’ll add a few more each day, as I have time.


Friday, December 1


Winter is expected to arrive in full force today. We have a light rain falling now, wind advisories with gusts to 45 MPH and temperatures falling through the day from our current 70° to around 30° this evening. All in all, an excellent day to be spending in the woodshop where it will be warm, dry and secure. This morning I will be sanding and oiling the garden bench so I can set it outside to make room to work on these other projects. Then, while the router table is re-configured anyway, I’ll finish making the parts for Yvonne’s stopper rack before reconfiguring it again to run glue joints, which will be needed on Calvin’s desk and Dan’s sewing machine cabinet. I’ll let you know how it goes this evening. * * * It went well. Turned out to be a very blustery day but the skies cleared up and it stayed warm until late evening. I was tempted to head for The Hill, but stayed the course to accomplish my assigned tasks for the day. I even got some cleaning and re-arranging done, and photographed a few special wood blocks that I am going to offer for sale on E-Bay. I have boxes and boxes of gorgeous small pieces of exotic and unusual domestic woods that I have bought over the years with the thought of turning them into some small project or using them as decorative bit on a larger piece. But as I’m doing nothing but custom work these days I rarely have time to do anything just for fun. So these boxes of blocks are just in the way. I need the space, so out they go. I’ll post the first batch tonight. Doug-Bob